The first day at a new job can be pretty nerve racking. Talk about being out of your comfort zone! Your schedule is probably quite a bit different than it was the days and weeks before, you’re surrounded by strange people in a strange place and so many things are undefined.
How many people reading this article have walked into your new place of employment and felt like a leper? Everyone stares at you as you walk by, making no introductions and sizing you up. You get to your work area and are left to figure the culture out for yourself. You eat your lunch alone, but inside you are trying to will anyone to make you feel like you’re visible and welcome.
At CATS, we are so picky about who we bring on to our team because the right person is always going to be a big addition to our team and our success, no matter the position. So here are a few of the ways we welcome a new team member into the fold.
The joke never gets old for our boss. “Oh, did the guys tell you? The new employee always treats the rest of the team on their first day. Don’t worry if you don’t have enough on you, we’ll deduct it from your first check”. He’ll even go so far as to take the receipt from that lunch, write the new employees name on the back and hand it to our payroll manager. Of course it is not true and it can get a little old if you’ve been here for a while, but I understand why he keeps it going. Everyone goes through it, no matter your role. It is a welcoming ritual that eventually you get to be on the other side of.
This really should be a part of our interviewing process: If you can handle crushing defeat or overwhelming triumph with dignity/modesty you’re good to go. In all seriousness though, we do get a little tourney going because participation in a group event and some friendly competition is a great way to make someone feel welcome. No one takes it too seriously and it’s always a good time. I haven’t won a match yet but I keep playing!
What better way to get someone acclimated and collaborating than to give them a brand new project? Not only is it a great way to learn the system, but a great way to start to get to know your team. Being that it’s a new project, no one is going to have absolute authority. It will be just as new to the veteran, and you will all have to work together to find the best way to achieve your goal. We hired a new developer recently and he and I started working on a new marketing project! He knows the code and I know the content so we learned a lot about each other very quickly. Without that it certainly would have taken more time to get to know each other.
These are just a few of the ways we welcome a new member into the fold. What are some of the creative ways your organization welcomes new team members? What have been your experiences with new employers, good and bad?